The need for secure and affordable fuel and energy has long been recognised by governments and businesses around the world. As the cost of exploration, extraction and transport of traditional fossil fuels increases – as well as the understanding of their impact on the environment – the search for cheaper, more reliable alternatives has gained traction.
One of the most promising is bioethanol.
This is used both as a fuel for transport and for generating electricity on a commercial scale. Norman Disney & Young A Tetra Tech Company (NDY) is assisting Renewable Developments Australia (RDA) to develop a low cost bioethanol production facility at Pentland, a bioenergy facility near Charters Towers in North Queensland.
“Bioenergy is an exciting industry to be involved in,” says NDY Sustainability Consultant Nicki Parker. “It’s a complex project, but it’s a fantastic opportunity to show that alternative energy can be affordable, reliable, and have a lower environmental impact than some of the more common energy options. The global bioethanol market is expected to grow to 145 Billion litres in 2022. This creates enormous opportunities for facilities like Pentland to step into a market that is maturing rapidly.”
With the Pentland plant aiming to produce the lowest cost ethanol in the world, the project will start to demonstrate the innovative measures that Australia is exploring in order to meet their future emissions reduction.
The proposed development is located approximately 250 kilometres South-West of Townsville near Charters Towers. The facility produces ethanol using sugar cane and sweet sorghum that is harvested from the on-site 20,000 hectare farm. The biomass will be irrigated using bore water harvesting, integrated into a self contained water and sewage treatment, further minimising the resources needed for operation.